By Alex Meda
I got the chance to talk with Miguel Septién, our newest cast member for our run at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Miguel is coming all the way from Mexico to work with us and will be playing Juan and Papi in Your Problem with Men. We are so excited to work with him!
Alex: Tell us a little about yourself and how you came to have a career in the Theatre. Basically, play us the highlight reel of your life!
Miguel: I always wanted to be an artist. Growing up, my biggest dream was to become an animator. Anime, manga, and videogames were (…are) huge for me. As a chubby 14 year-old, I discovered Dance Dance Revolution, became addicted from day one, lost a ton of weight, and found out that I was actually a pretty decent mover. Because of this, I was coerced into dance by some high-school friends, and that made me realize two things: the first, that storytelling through movement was what attracted me to animation in the first place, and the second, that I would never be able to keep a job that required me to be sitting down for an extended period of time. Dance later led to theatre, and I decided that I wanted these two things to be what my life would be about. I was blessed with the full support of my parents, who encouraged me to audition for Emerson College in Boston. I did, got in, and graduated with a BA in Acting/Directing in the spring of 2010. After that, I spent a couple of years in NYC working with different companies and fulfilling my lifelong dream of starring in a Transformers commercial. My ultimate goal was always to go back to Queretaro, Mexico (my hometown) and use what I was lucky enough to learn abroad to form a company that would serve as a platform for Mexican talent to grow and develop and to produce theatre that wouldn’t normally be seen in my country. Through a series of fortunate circumstances, it ended up happening a lot sooner than I expected, and, in the fall of 2011, Icaro Teatro was born. So far, we have produced four shows: Marat/Sade, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Conference of The Birds, and The Pillowman. I’ve realized that directing is what I enjoy doing and learning from the most, and hope to keep doing it for a very long time with the incredible team that Icaro has assembled. I’m also very fortunate to have been hired as the resident director for the musical theatre productions at Tecnológico de Monterrey Campus Querétaro. Also, in case you were wondering, I still sweat my butt off playing DDR.
ABM: When did you find out about Teatro Luna… and how did you come to join this tour?
MS: I found out about Teatro Luna from Abigail Vega, one of my best friends from college who moved to Chicago and started working with the company. She contacted me asking if I would be interested in auditioning for YPWM, which would be going to the UK. That was extremely attractive in itself, but, after reading the script and realizing how hilariously honest it was, I definitely wanted to be a part of the project. I auditioned via Google Hangout (whose existence I was unaware of up until that point) and got to meet the Director, Alex Meda. It had been a while since my last audition, but I liked the material and set out to have fun with it. I was ecstatic when I learned that I had gotten the part, and I can’t wait to share this adventure with the Luna ladies.
ABM: We all have a few of those crazy theatre stories – events that took place in and around the theatre that were just a little life-changing (or just hilariously embarrassing), could you share one of yours with our readers?
MS: Growing up in a small city in Mexico, I didn’t have access to a lot of theatre growing up. By the time I reached Emerson, my mind was blown when I was thrust into this universe of previously unknown information. I was particularly smitten by the more radical theorists and playwrights: Brecht, Artaud, Grotowski…I couldn’t believe the far corners these men had pushed theatre to, and I was enamored by the fascinating ways in which these kinds of artists searched for truth in the seemingly absurd, the abstract, the un-theatrical, and the painfully theatrical. It was during my sophomore year that I stumbled upon the plays of Gao Xingjian, more specifically, “The Other Shore”. I was mesmerized by the kind of theatre this playwright had created, and, when I realized I would probably never get the chance to be in a show like this, I decided to direct it. It was one of the greatest experiences of my life, and it led me to start considering a path in directing, which has now become my main focus.
ABM: Who are you as an artist? What is your “mission” and what labels do you brandish?
MS: As a director, I’m a big fan of Grotowski and his Poor Theatre. I believe production values are great, but a lot of people seem to see them as an end in themselves rather than as a tool to help frame the essentials, which will always be the actors and the honesty they bring in the relationships between themselves and with the audience. I like working with clear and aggressive limitations, whether they be artistic, financial, spatial…I think that the challenge of making things work when a situation is not ideal is what we learn from the most.
ABM: In case you didn’t know, you’re only one of a handful of men who have been onstage with Luna in the past thirteen years. In addition to acting, what other talents do you bring to the table?
MS: I’m proud to consider myself a master Risk-strategist. I’m also fairly good at drawing, creating Dungeons & Dragons campaigns, speaking English, memorizing useless facts, and making friends.
ABM: What five things will you be bringing to Edinburgh that you can’t live without?
MS: My iPad, iPhone, Moleskine, 10 black t-shirts, orange sneakers
ABM: Dream city to perform in?
MS: Right now: definitely London.
ABM: Name 3 favorites. Share your 3 of your favorite “things” in ONLY 3 of the following categories of your choosing: Books, Movies, Musicians, Songs, Colors, Lipgloss, technology, food, celebrities you love, celebs you hate ( or love to hate), TV shows, blogs or bloggers, people on twitter or instagram, or 3 of your fave vices:
MS: Books: “What I Talk About When I Talk About Running” by Haruki Murakami, “The Empty Space” by Peter Brook, “One Piece” by Eiichiro Oda
Movies: Amadeus, Princess Mononoke, Kill Bill 1 & 2
Vices: Manga, Videogames, Risk (board game)